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A geologist comes full circle with poetry

May 26, 2012 02:02 IST

Coming Full Circle, a collection of poems by scientist-turned-poet Rama K Ramaswamy is perhaps a reflection of her life.

Tamil Nadu-born, Boston-based, Ramaswamy, who is in her mid-thirties, has traversed the world since her teens. And for years she was a geologist researching extreme environments and working for the United States Geological Survey.

The proceeds from her debut literary effort, Ramaswamy said, will go to the Breast Cancer Programme at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

"I lost my childhood friend to cancer a few years ago -- she was very young, only 33 -- and I now have four girlfriends of mine undergoing chemotherapy," Ramaswamy told

Coming Full Circle is described as 'a new genre of fusion poetry', where Ramaswamy draws on 'an interactive blend of factual science and subjective fiction tossed in an existential salad-bowl for all to experience and enjoy.'

"I grew up 'around' in lots of different places in Asia and Europe and then moved to the US for college," Ramaswamy said "I've met lots of interesting people -- all of whom have had stories to tell. I try to be in their shoes and empathize with their range of emotions and experiences for inspiration for some of my works."

The poems span the gamut of human experiences and emotions, from first-time motherhood, loss of loved ones, to the impact of severed relationships.

In 1999, Ramaswamy was named GeoScientist of the Year by the Association of Geoscientists.

One of her favourite in a plethora of scientific papers and publications was one, she said, which outlined "the geographic range of a pre-historic shark that swam between the eastern costs of Texas and southern India at a time when India was migrating towards present-day China millions of years ago."

She said travelling across the world and into areas usually off-limits to tourists and getting to meet with a variety of people were the inspiration for her poems.

"I really do enjoy being an amateur social anthropologist," she said, "I find human behaviour endlessly fascinating and this clearly provides me with the content for my writing and poems."

She is an alumna of Ohio State University and George Washington University, and received a diploma from the Alliance Francaise in Toulouse, France


Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC